From Shorpy

Or so we have to tell ourselves.

Nothing was packed, in fact, everything was out on the bed and the floor, because I’d been searching for the small green powerpack that allowed me to fly. Couldn’t get to the next level of the game without it.

I took a break from searching my room and went down to the lobby. The gendarme - played here by James Franco - wandered up behind the pastry counter in the lounge of the elegant Paris hotel where I had been staying, grinned in tht way Franco has, the cheerful stoner trying to smooth over a unpleasantness. He adjusted his cap and small cape, things he wore because he was a French policeman, and explained that the police had readjusted the liability for being with two women who brought too many shopping bags on the metro, and I would have to pay a $110 Euro fine for overloading the car. I sputtered that this was ridiculous, and this is what I hated about Paris, how it was simply a machine for extracting every franc, every sou, every centime from its visitors, and both the policeman and the snooty lady behind the pastry counter are looking at me oddly, and I remember that the centime had been replaced by the Euro.

But: I was proud of myself for remembering discarded units of French currency, and angry with the French for giving up the Franc. I appended “Euro” to the list of monetary units the locals were greedy to extract, adding that this robbery continued apace “as if no one cared whether I ever returned, a sentiment with which I am all too happy to concur.” And I walked away, pleased that I got the “with which” in there, not quite sure that it made sense, and wondering again how I was going to be out of my hotel room by noon the next day, especially since I’d imported several pieces of furniture from home, and that stuff wasn’t going into the suitcases.

I went back to the room to continue looking for the small green powerpack, which was indistinguishable from a Zippo in its dimensions. I’d feel coat pockets, feel the contours of something that fit the description, remove it, and sigh: only my USSR 24th Communist Party Commemorative Zippo, or something equally odd and historical. That’s when I found the tiny set of drawers under the desk.

It was filthy down there - they never vacuumed - but there was an elegant little bureau with 16 tiny drawers, each of which contained five centime coins. I didn’t know if this was a good luck charm, something used by a species of little people who lived unseen in the hotel woodwork, or a civilized way or leaving behind extra change.

Perhaps the powerpack was at the studio were we were shooting the movie based on the game. We'd had to suspend filming that morning, because I'd tried to fly - I ran, and flapped my arms expecting to take off, but nothing happened. They had other scenes to shoot, so it wasn't that much of a problem, but it annoyed me.

The green powerpack, I thought, is possibly in the car. It fell out of your pocket when you were coming home from piano lessons. It's not in Paris at all. It's in the garage.

Bong bong

Time to wake up, sir.

Bong bong

Time t wake up, sir.

I woke and went downstairs, and was almost terrified to look at the floors, because I recalled making a huge scar in the newly refinished wood - three feet long, jagged, an absolute canyon. But there was no such thing. And so the day began.

My dreams have become unaccountably anxious lately; missed planes, missed ships - the adult equivalent of showing up for a test for which you didn’t study. There was a remarkably cinematic epic the other morning; zombies were coming, and they were handing out rifles. I had experienced the situation before, so I knew that these single-shot rifles would be insufficient for the task, requiring too much reloading, and besides, it didn’t matter: after the zombies would come a great shapeless entity that would set the world alight, and there was really no defense against that. I quit the battlefield and found a train into town, a blue and white train filled with silent people, and it glided through a city where every building glowed like charcoal embers. I thought the trains always run past the time when you think they’ll stop. And then they stop for good

Bong bong

Time to wake up, sir.

Bong bong

Time t wake up, sir.

Some dream imagery is so magnificent, so unexpected, so astonishing that it takes years to be forgotten. There’s still a house in Dinkytown, four blocks behind Ralph and Jerry’s, a haunted and decayed place - it didn’t exist. But I’ve had two dreams there. At least I think I did; dreams can flood your mind with the emotions of familiarity and return, even though it’s just a set your brain finished constructed a second before you turned the corner.

I never remember dreams about people I know. I no longer have recurring dreams that I sold Jasperwood and moved elsewhere and lamented my mistake.

If ever we could record dreams a la “Dreamscape,” the movie industry would be crippled. There would be no point. People would swap their own dreams, downloadable files, the best ones reviewed by critics, the auteurs of the most popular fantasies regarded as Artists, the real-life analogues of the characters given a write-up in the entertainment journals. Old-style contrived narratives that hewed to the forms and conventions of fiction would be swept aside, but only for a while. People would tire of raw plotless Id. There’s no happily-ever-after in the dream world.

What part of your self wakes you up when the dream has gone too far? What part is watching, waiting to save you?

A weekend of no great accomplishment or distinction, and that’s fine. I did not do errand, and hence cannot relay some petty annoyance or moment of grace from the checkout line at Target. I put the finishing touches on a site to be rolled out in early April; I had coffee with the Giant Swede; I watched a Spanish demonic-possession / found-footage sequel to a viral-outbreak / zombie / found-footage Spanish movie, but didn’t we all. On Friday night I turned off the machinery, made a bowl of ice cream, and watched “Ripper Street,” the name of which suggests gore and unseemly events. It’s my favorite show of the year, as I may have mentioned. A police procedural in Whitechapel c. 1889.

Then the late-night prowl through Netflix’s “More like this” option, which always reveals interesting krep that’s notable for something. Maybe the credits. Maybe the opening sequence.


That caught me by surprise. James O’Hanlon?

The movie is “For Those Who Think Young.” An extended surf-movie Pepsi commercial with all the usual characters. James Darren. Paul Lynde. Bob Denver. Tina Louise. George Raft: “Detective (uncredited) Wow. Also “Maureen O’Hanlon,” who was James O’Hanlon’s daughter, I believe. She had one other movie credit, 24 years later.

So? Well, it’s a name that pops up here from time to time. One of those examples of American fame that’s not quite A league and not quite B league. George did a series of popular shorts in the 40s, playing everyman Joe Doakes. If you went to the movies, you saw a Joe Doakes short. After that it was strictly from hunger, small parts in medium-sized movies, some radio work, cobbling together this and that to keep it going. So what happened with this? George isn’t remembered as a writer. Was his name intended to bring some residual prestige to a teen flick from his old movie days? Surely no one was thinking of him from that cartoon he did, because that thing just lasted one season before it got nixed.

Who knows. But we remember him, because - as his imdb bio says - “his cousin, Virginia O'Hanlon, is the subject of the famous editorial, "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus".

Also because George was George Jetson.



Oh: the green Zippo was in the car. It fell out of my pocket. I didn't flap my arms to see if I could fly once I had it.

What's serious in dreams is always silly in real life. Or so we have to tell ourselves.

Three examples. Remember, these are not reviews or recaps. Why would you care about that? Let's find some small peculiar details and learn a thing or two.


A musical from 1940, with lots of big-band music? I'm in:

As it begins, we see a beautiful woman who is transfixed by the mjusician on the stage, wailing away:

She simply cannot take her eyes off of him.

She's Paulette Goddard. One of those most vivacious, gorgeous women of the screen. She could have her pick of men. She smiles, to let that handsome hunk of musician know she exists.

The object of her lust:

Really. Well, perhaps there's another fellow angling for her affection?

Let me state for the record that I really do not want to watch a movie that pretends Paulette Goddard is interested in either of these guys.

It's not a good movie. Astaire and Meredith play . . . college students. Granted, they're guys who have overstayed their college days, but there's no way you buy Fred as anything other than a 40-year-old man hanging around the Quadrangle trying to pick up girls. And girls there are:

IMDB being what it is, there's actually a credit for the guy "with the zinc on his nose." Charles Smith. He had lots of roles like "Hotel Clerk" and "Desk Clerk" and "Counter Man" and the like.

The music's good; Artie Shaw's band appears. But take a look at this:


The fellow second from the left is Hermes Pan, Fred's choreographer. They worked hard on the dance routine with Paulette, who really couldn't dance. There's a few moments where she reaches for his hand, and Fred makes sure she gets it. Give her points for trying:

To note something some people already know and are impatient for someone to point out: Paulette Goddard married Burgess Meredith. Which, as I said in a tweet last week, is proof there is not God if you aren't Burgess, or proof that there is, if you are.

Demonstrating that even a mediocre product of a great artist can be beneficially employed in the service of remix culture: seventy years later, this.


That scene may be familiar to people who watch TCM; they use it to preface noir-type B&W films.

Henry Fonda and Vera Miles go to an apartment to look for someone, and two giggly girls answer the door.

The girl on the right is Tuesday Weld.

Take a look at the girl on the left. You know her. Someone in the comments will figure it out.


Usual places today; sorry there was no Strib Blog on Friday, but it was wall-to-wall. Should be better today. Have a grand Monday!

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